Memory aid for mutations

Has anyone ever written a single set of sentences - like a verse, perhaps - which contains an example of each mutational variant? Something that you can just memorize, so that you can run it through your head every time you get stuck, picking out the phrase you need: the phrase you can adapt to your current need? The set phrases we learn in SSIW perform this function separately, but is there any one script you can memorize that has got the whole lot in it? I am just thinking about mutations here, not a script covering every single grammatical rule!

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No, but it’s a good idea.

I think I’d try starting with 3 basic scripts, one for each of the types of mutation (in colloquial Welsh, that is. Maybe different in the literary variety).

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I use this to remember which letters have soft mutations (taken from Lois Arnold’s book E-Ffrindiau):

T C P Does Boils Good. Llewellyn Married Rhiannon.

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The one on the BBC Bitesize website for remembering which letters nasally mutate is:

The Cat Purrs But Dogs Growl.

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TCP makes Bloody Good Disinfectant, is one I was told. Was looking for something more though, that tells you not just which letters mutate, but when they do it

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That could well be too long a list for a simple memory aid. Aspirate and nasal mutations, I suppose, don’t pop up that frequently, but goodness, how many reasons are there for soft mutations?! Loads that I can think of:

Following many prepositions (“Dw i’n dod o Gaerdydd”)
Forming questions or negatives (“Ddarllenodd e’r llyfr 'ma?”)
Directly following the subject of a sentence (I’m a bit vague on this one… “Darllenodd hi gylchgrawn”)
Following “ei” meaning “his” (I think?!)
Following the number two (dau gi, dwy ferch)
Following other numbers that I’ve forgotten!
Adjectives following feminine singular nouns (Cath ddu)
Feminine singular nouns following the definite article (y gath ofnadwy)

I just can’t see how you’d make a simple memory aid with so many common causes of soft mutation in it.

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Hmmm. As a relative beginner maybe I underestimate the number of times SM comes up. Oh dear. It’s such a pain having to do all this mutating. It feels like it’s always tripping me up and delaying my progress.

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Don’t worry about it. It’ll start feeling natural eventually, and some of the causes of it will become second nature… but even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter.

Someone posted the first of a new series of videos “Easy Welsh” on here recently, and I found it really reassuring to see how many Welsh speakers didn’t mutate in places where technically they should have done. No one batted an eyelid, no one rushed to correct them, because (as far as being understood goes) they’re not that important.

I’m only a beginner though, so take what I say with a fistful of salt. I’m pretty sure others will agree that it shouldn’t hold your progress up, though. Just push on and don’t worry if you miss a mutation.

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Thank you Stephen. I have heard that many first language Welsh people do not speak textbook Welsh. I suppose they are just like the English - the written and spoken forms of the language can be different. I’m doing a dysgucymraeg course. I’ve been learning Welsh since last September and have fast-tracked through Mynediad to Sylfaen as I find language learning relatively easy, but still I make mistakes with mutations. I can’t get them to stick. Maybe I just need to have spent more time learning Welsh. In a way though, if you overlook my continuous mistakes with mutations, everything else is coming along fine and I’m definitely becoming more adept, so I guess that’s what I should focus on.

I believe it’s easier to just kind of remember when some letter mutate and which way. I believe Welsh on the Wall has the good instructions (but not complicated) to when some letter mutate.

I know what you’d actually like to have but … well, when I finish current project of kind of Welsh poetry, I might get to this one. :slight_smile:

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Nice chart anyway. Thank you x

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I suspect it’s definitely worth trying to learn some examples of nasal and aspirate mutations, since they are the trickiest, but also not so numerous. Ideally perhaps in something like a rhyme or a poem that could be fun to learn and remember. Or a song. Or a joke. Or something. :slight_smile:

The SMs, as Stephen points out, are a bit too numerous for this sort of thing (which I had not considered properly at first). But on the other hand, they tend to be a bit easier, and tend to come almost automatically or instinctively after a while.

But here’s one while I think of it: “Diolch o galon”. “Thanks from (my) heart” -> “calon” SM to “galon” after “o”.

And one from Course 1: “hen gath”. “old cat”. “hen” causes “cath” SM to “gath”. (unusual case of adjective before noun, and I think all such adjectives do the same…hmm…not sure about all such adjectives, but “hoff” (“favourite”) is another.

See here:

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they do, except ‘pob’ :wink:

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That is a really useful printout Mikeel, I will keep it in my file. I guess the Holy Grail of a neat little song or poem that’s got everything you need might be unattainable, but it must be possible to put together something like that for individual sets of mutations - ‘The Meddal Song’, ‘One little Aspirate’, ‘Trwynol Tricks’ or whatever. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I’m more fluent, and do the job myself!

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Seriously, though, I would recommend you avoid creating some kind of internal lookup table or descision tree in your mind. There’s nothing more guaranteed to stop a conversation in its tracks than someone halting midway through every sentence in order to think

OK so dog, ci, is feminine, no wait, it’s masculine, so the fur of the dog is ei blew, but I think ei when it’s masculine causes a mutation, but which one?.. Erm, Ok, I think it’s the soft mutation, so let’s go for ei flew

While all of this is going on in your head you’re losing all sorts of opportunities to get on with the conversation, and the likelihood is that the person you’re conversing with is getting somewhat frustrated.

As you point out, however, writing is a different matter, but even then, I would recommend working on speaking naturally as your priority and maybe cheating with your writing by using Cysill Ar-lein for the time being.

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Those vids are just the kind of thing I was on about - I can’t comment on how good they are cos I can’t understand what the kids are singing. I love the idea though. I understand what you mean about not letting concerns about mutations interrupt conversation, but as you understand, when I’m doing written homework, I get irritated with the constant stopping of the creative flow to look up a mutation rule. It’s for purposes of writing that the mind palace idea is useful.
However, bringing the subject up has really helped because people have offered some great resources. Diolch yn fawr iawn to all!

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If these homeworks are being marked, why not simply use the mutation you believe is correct and allow the teacher to correct you where necessary?

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Those videos made me think of my childhood and School House Rock. If you’re a child of 70’s living in the United States, School House Rock was part of your education. Where I lived, these were shown before cartoons Saturday morning. I would awake extra early to make sure I didn’t miss the first one at 6AM. They covered Grammar, US History, Science, Math and Government. Below is Verbs one of my favorites.

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Well of course that happens, and the tutor does, but I’m a perfectionist.

I love this kind of thing. I love languages. I am totally in love with the English language. I think it’s fabulous. When I’ve mastered mutations I will love Welsh too.
PS Plow…I even find it fascinating that American spellings are different, because of the historical reasons. Like why the names of birds are different, because early English settlers were often townspeople who wouldn’t recognise a robin when they saw one. Stuff like that. Words have stories behind them. Origins, cultures. It’s magical.

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